My Path to FM - Part 3 - The Plan

My Path to FM - Part 3 - The Plan

NM ih8sens

...The whole plan, and nothing but the plan.


Feel free to read part 1 and part 2 if you want to waste 10 minutes of your life on babble.  


My Path to FM - Study Plan



My openings have always been a strong point in my game.  I started as an e4 player using all kinds of heavy theory to create problems for my opponents, but realistically I don't think white should ever get anything against the Sveshnikov, Najdorf, Berlin, etc... 

The same applies to 1.d4, let's be realistic... the Slav, Semi-Slav, QGD, Grunfeld, Nimzo, QID, etc... black is just fine if he knows his stuff.

So, I'm committed to not study deep theory.  Everybody has some kind of stupid pet, and I learned in my last tournament that even a 2000 level player can play like a 3300 if they're just playing from memory.  Lately (although it didn't show in Guelph) I've been searching for positions with white that are interesting and complex, but not theoretical.  I'll do something similar with black, although with black it's important to equalize against very strong opposition.  

My Plan: Work through each GM Repertoire book that covers the openings I play, copying the main lines into Chessbase files, and adding my own notes when appropriate.  If I feel a position is too complex, I'll search for reasonable alternatives so that I'm not stuck in a theory battle.  

Importance: 2/5



I've said in other blogs that I think this is the most important thing for most people to study.  Back in 2013 this is pretty much all I was doing, though.  Pretty much I'm doing okay here so I'll limit myself. 

My Plan: I'll go over some of Mueller's stuff so I don't get caught forgetting how to win/hold certain theoretical positions, but for the most part I'm okay for now.

Importance: 1/5



This is too big a subject to plan for.  Let me break it down.



I recently discovered that I've done over 10,000 problems in the past couple years.  I think I'm overtraining.

My Plan: I'm going to try to do fewer tactics better.  My chesstempo rating has been fluctuating between 2000 and 2100, but I'm moving too quickly and calculating rather lazily.  Instead, I'm going to do 5 tactics per day, trying to get all of them correct.  I should be able to do this in under an hour/day which I think is pretty good.  It's time to focus on calculation rather than pattern recognition.  

Importance: 5/5


Positional Play

This is crazy important against stronger players.  I find a lot of them try to avoid complications, looking for an 'easy' win against a lower rated player.  That makes playing a lot of different positions well very important.  Obviously I do fine in positions that I get all the time, but strong players find ways to avoid familiar positions.  

My Plan: I plan on keeping up with every game played in big tournaments between now and the Zonal.  That way I'll be exposed to games played in positions I rarely ever get.  More specifically, I intend to spend at least 10 minutes on every game played by everybody in the top 10 in the world.

Importance: 4/5

Practical Play

This is crazy important.  It's hard to practice without actual practical games.

My Plan: I've found a few training partners and will continue to look for more.  One standard length game (with detailed analysis postmortem) should do the trick.

Importance: 5/5


So there's the plan.  Most important will be to play lots of training games with strong opponents.  Being more careful on the tactics trainer will help too. In some ways I've definitely been overtraining.


Let's hope it works!